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New York Giants minicamp: 5 storylines we will be following

What to expect this week when the Giants go through their mandatory minicamp

New York Giants Offseason Workout
Brian Daboll
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New York Giants hold their mandatory minicamp Tuesday and Wednesday, the last times the team will be together before training camp begins at the end of July. Here are some of the storylines we will be following.

Taking advantage of Saquon’s absence

We’re not going to rehash what Saquon Barkley said about his contract negotiations with the Giants. Want to do that? We have offered you plenty of opportunities.

[Barkley analysis | Podcast | YouTube video]

During the next couple of days I will be paying attention to how the players getting reps in Barkley’s stead take advantage of the situation.

At this point in the offseason, I’m wondering how many backs the Giants will ultimately keep. They had three on the roster last season, with Jashaun Corbin spending the year on the practice squad.

We know what Matt Breida is at this point in his career. Extra reps can only help rookie fifth-round pick Eric Gray. Can he use the next couple of days to springboard himself into a position where he can compete for snaps on offense — at least as a third-down back if not more?

Unless the Giants were to surprisingly move on from Breida, it figures that those three backs will be on the roster. What of Corbin and last year’s third back, Gary Brightwell? Those two players are going to have to prove they belong and, while jobs won’t be won or lost this week, a solid showing can’t hurt.

Wide receiver depth chart

A season ago, we saw hints throughout spring OTAs and mandatory minicamp that Richie James would be a factor for the Giants at wide receiver. Is there a player who has done that so far during OTAs, or who will do it during the minicamp?

If it has been anyone in the two practices media has seen, it might be Collin Johnson. He was impressive all spring and summer last year before tearing his Achilles tendon, and has picked up again during OTAs.

Will the Giants keep six receivers or seven? Who will get the last spot or two? There are a lot of options and, again, no one is winning or losing that spot now. It will be interesting, though, to see if anyone jumps to the front of the line this week.

Rookie progress

First-round pick Deonte Banks is on track to be the starting outside cornerback opposite Adoree’ Jackson. In the last practice I saw, Banks got picked on a little bit. In spring practices, though, that’s OK. You want lessons to be learned now, not when they actually count.

We know defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is excited to have Banks, having said recently that drafting him was “like winning a scratch-off ticket.”

John Michael Schmitz has been working as the first-team center, and that is unlikely to change. I already discussed Gray a bit.

The rookie I am most interested in at this point is third-round pick Jalin Hyatt.

Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka had this to say recently about Hyatt:

“Jalin is doing a nice job. He’s right on schedule. He’s working. He’s growing. That’s one thing you’ve seen from him from the first day in rookie camp, to the next day, then you’re working through this Phase III part of it, is his growth and his familiarity and comfortability with the offense.”

Still, in the two OTAs that were open to media, Hyatt saw very few balls thrown in his direction. It would be nice to see him flash some of the play-making potential the Giants drafted him for.

We have also spent time recently talking about undrafted free agents. Will any of the Giants’ UDFAs make a splash over the next two days?

Injury updates

The Giants are not required to — and won’t — give us any injury information at this time of year. All head coach Brian Daboll has said when asked about the various players rehabbing from injuries is that they are all at “different stages” of their recoveries.

We have seen the aforementioned Johnson, as well as inside linebacker Darrian Beavers (torn ACL) participating during OTAs.

Pretty much everyone else trying to come back from a 2022 injury has been working on the side and occasionally participating in walk-thru installation periods.

Knowing Daboll’s penchant for putting health entering training camp above reps at this time of year, I doubt we will see players like Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson, Marcus McKethan and others ramp up their activity levels.

Still, I will be watching and will make sure you know if there are some changes.

Position battles

The Giants could have training camp competitions at left guard, inside linebacker, slot cornerback and safety. I will be looking for hints Tuesday and Wednesday as to how those competitions might look entering training camp.